I recommend this article about executive coaching. Annual spending on executive coaching in the United States is estimated at $1 billion. Yet, information about coaching's effectiveness is scarce and unreliable. No one has yet demonstrated conclusively what qualifies an executive coach or what makes one approach to executive coaching better than another. Barriers to entry are nonexistent--many executive coaches know little about business, and some know little about coaching. The coaching certifications offered by various self-appointed bodies are difficult to assess, and methods of measuring return on investment are questionable. But strategic coaching can provide critical help both to individuals and to organizations. In this article, Stratford Sherman, a senior vice-president of Executive Coaching Network, and Alyssa Freas, the founder and CEO, explore the popularity of executive coaching and investigate ways to make the most of the experience. They argue that coaching is inevitably a triangular relationship between the client, the "coachee," and the coach. Its purpose is to produce behavioral change and growth in the coachee for the economic benefit of the client. The best way to maximize the likelihood of good results is to qualify all the people involved. Even so, many triangular relationships continue to generate conflict among all three parties. At the most basic level, coaches serve as suppliers of candor, providing leaders with the objective feedback they need to nourish their growth. Coaching gets executives to slow down, gain awareness, and notice the effects of their words and actions. On a larger scale, the best coaching fosters cultural change for the benefit of the entire organization. It provides a disciplined way for businesses to deepen relationships with their most valued employees while also increasing their effectiveness.
I was published Nov 1, 2004 by Stratford Sherman and Alyssa Freas in Harvard University Review